Ecosystem conservation is butting up against potential solar and wind energy development in the Mojave Desert. Solar developers, in particular, hope to site large sun-power generation projects in parts of the desert but some conservationists want renewable developers\u2019 hands off the land. Stepping into the middle of the fray is Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), author of the 1994 Desert Protection Act, who plans to preserve hundreds of thousand of acres in the desert. In a surprise announcement, Feinstein said she was going to introduce a bill to protect the land at issue via a Monument Designation. \u201cI\u2019m a strong supporter of renewable energy and clean technology--but it is critical that these projects are built on sustainable lands,\u201d Feinstein stated last week. Environmentalists are divided on whether and\/or how much renewable development to allow on desert lands. \u201cIf we don\u2019t turn the climate breakdown around soon, we lose the ecosystem of the Mojave and elsewhere,\u201d said Jim Eaton, founder and former executive director of the California Wilderness Coalition. While supporting an expansion of alternative energy development, he noted that the crux of the matter was the location of the projects. \u201cThe truth is that we don\u2019t know where the geographic boundaries of the proposed monument will be,\u201d said Shannon Eddy, Large-scale Solar Industry executive director. The twin goals of conservation and clean energy, she added, can be met but \u201cit will take time to work out.\u201d The land at issue involves about 587,000 acres of former railroad checkerboard holdings, which were owned by Catellus. The Mojave holdings were then purchased from Catellus, primarily with private funds. The key purchaser, the Wildland Conservancy, subsequently transferred the land to the Bureau of Land Management. The federal land agency did not place restrictions on the use of the land that lies between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. The conservancy insists the land and its resources remain free of human interference. \u201cBeyond protecting national parks and wilderness from development, the conservation of these lands has helped to ensure the sustainability of the entire desert ecosystem by preserving the vital wildlife corridors,\u201d Feinstein stated in a letter to Ken Salazar, Department of Interior secretary, sent earlier this month. Many desert conservationists believe photovoltaic systems should cover the vast acreage of industrial and commercial building rooftops, not the ground in the Mojave.